VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Surigao congressman errs in claiming Duterte ‘never’ ordered the killing of drug pushers

Former president Rodrigo Duterte “never ordered the killing of drug pushers.”


On several occasions, at least once a year since 2016, Duterte made public statements authorizing law enforcers to kill drug suspects, particularly those who are resisting arrest and fighting back.

Explaining the reason for filing a resolution in the House of Representatives supporting former president Rodrigo Duterte against the International Criminal Court’s investigation into the drug war-related killings, Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel falsely claimed that Duterte never ordered the killings of suspects in the bloody campaign against illegal drugs.

(See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Dela Rosa falsely claims Duterte never ordered to kill anyone involved in drugs)

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In the same interview, Pimentel claimed that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines following its withdrawal from the Rome Statute in 2019.

Article 127, paragraph 2 of the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC, provides that a country that has withdrawn is not cleared of its obligations for incidents that occurred when it was still a state party.

(Read Disinformation about ICC echoes Duterte’s defense, targets prosecutors)


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ABS CBN News Channel, Rep. Johnny Pimentel on Duterte defense vs ICC: These are all allegations, ICC has no jurisdiction, Feb. 17, 2023

News5Everywhere, President-Elect Rodrigo Duterte Victory Party, June 5, 2016

RTVMalacañang, Solidarity Dinner at Delpan Sports Complex (Speech) 6/30/2016, June 30, 2016

RTVMalacañang, 26th Anniversary of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (Speech) 7/12/2017, July 12, 2017

RTVMalacañang, Oath-Taking of the New Career Executive Service Officers (CESOs) (Speech) 9/27/2018, Sept. 27, 2018

RTVMalacañang, 45th Philippine Business Conference and Expo (Speech) 10/17/2019, Oct. 17, 2019

RTVMalacañang, Kumusta Po Mahal Kong Kababayan? | Meeting on COVID-19 Concerns and Talk to the People on COVID-19, Aug. 31, 2020

RTVMalacañang, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s 6th State of the Nation Address, July 26, 2021

RTVMalacañang, Part 1: President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Talk to the People, Jan. 4, 2022

International Criminal Court, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Accessed Feb. 21, 2023


(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)